Bias in the number of steps in the Euclidean algorithm and a conjecture of Ito on Dedekind sums

Paolo Minelli, Athanasios Sourmelidis, Marc Technau*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We investigate the number of steps taken by three variants of the Euclidean algorithm on average over Farey fractions. We show asymptotic formulae for these averages restricted to the interval (0, 1/2), establishing that they behave differently on (0, 1/2) than they do on (1/2, 1). These results are tightly linked with the distribution of lengths of certain continued fraction expansions as well as the distribution of the involved partial quotients. As an application, we prove a conjecture of Ito on the distribution of values of Dedekind sums. The main argument is based on earlier work of Zhabitskaya, Ustinov, Bykovskiĭ and others, ultimately dating back to Lochs and Heilbronn, relating the quantities in question to counting solutions to a certain system of Diophantine inequalities. The above restriction to only half of the Farey fractions introduces additional complications.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages30
JournalMathematische Annalen
Early online date6 Sept 2022
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 6 Sept 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Mathematics(all)

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